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Pa. man allegedly left wife bleeding after crash

Witnesses said they had not seen the accident but "only saw a male standing next to the female who soon thereafter left"

Public Opinion 

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — Chambersburg man James Ott Presgraves will go to trial Monday for charges related to a driving under the influence crash in which he allegedly left the scene while his wife was injured in the vehicle.

Presgraves is expected to have a three-day jury trial with Judge Shawn D. Meyers for charges of aggravated assault by vehicle while driving under the influence, accidents involving death or personal injury, aggravated assault by vehicle, DUI and recklessly endangering another person.

On Jan. 21, 2012, Chambersburg Police Officer Matthew Lynch saw a vehicle in the area of South Second Street with its hazard lights activated, which led to him discovering a Jeep Grand Cherokee that was on the sidewalk with an injured woman still inside, according to court documents. The crash had occurred just before 2:06 a.m., and several people were outside the vehicle shouting that the woman had broken arms.

The woman, identified as Stacey Presgraves, was going in and out of consciousness as Lynch tended to her, according to court documents, and he noticed a strong smell of alcohol coming from her. She was "covered in blood" and had hair covering a five-inch lesion on the right side of her head.

Witnesses in the area said they had seen another male there, but that he had left the scene. The witnesses said they had not seen the accident but "only saw a male standing next to the female who soon thereafter left," according to court documents.

Officers followed a set of tracks in the snow and apprehended a male walking from the accident, who was identified as James Ott Presgraves, III, according to court documents.

Presgraves was bleeding from a large scrape on the right side of his forehead and also smelled strongly of alcohol, according to court documents. He identified Stacey Presgraves as his wife.

Presgraves told police that a female friend of his wife's was in the vehicle and that it was that woman's boyfriend who was driving, and he was attempting to look for that man when police found him.

Presgraves later told police that he did not know the names of his wife's friends, but said they had been met at a bar earlier in the evening. However, evidence showed that Presgraves was the driver of the vehicle, not the unidentified friends, according to court documents.

Presgraves had his blood tested for alcohol content at 3:08 a.m., which was found to be .127 percent, according to court documents.

He was allowed in his wife's emergency room, but she became "somewhat irate" after a short time, according to court documents.

At the emergency room, her injuries were determined to be two fractured vertebrates and a fractured rib, as well as arterial bleeding on her head and a large lesion that required surgery to repair, according to court documents. She was taken to Meritus Medical Center in Maryland for further treatment.

On Jan. 25, Stacey Presgraves reported her injuries to police as requiring a neck brace for four to six weeks, as well as three arteries cut on her head during the accident.

After another interview with police, James Presgraves submitted to a DNA test, while still claiming he was not the driver of the vehicle the night of the incident. Presgraves was arrested in the incident on Feb. 1, 2012.

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McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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